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BATTERY RECYCLING IN SOUTH KOREA – CIRCULAR ECONOMY

As the world moves away from petrol and diesel engines, the demand for electric vehicles is increasing. This is a positive move, as Electric Vehicles (EV) are a much more environmentally friendly solution for the automotive industry, and help to reduce the global reliance on fossil fuels.

The increase in EV production does however inevitably mean an increase in the consumption of lithium-ion batteries. In fact, the global battery market has actually doubled in size over the last five years alone, and it is only going to get bigger.

RECYCLING OF LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES

More batteries means more waste and EV batteries are notoriously hard to recycle, posing an issue once these vehicles have reached the end of their lifecycle.

Currently, once a battery reaches the end of its service life, it is collected, dismantled, and shredded. The material left behind from this process is called black mass. The composition of Black Mass can vary, but it always contains elements which can be repurposed in the production of new batteries in support of a circular economy.

Businesses that are equipped to extract quantities of these battery metals could find increased demand for their services.

HOW BATTERY RECYCLING IN SOUTH KOREA IS SUPPORTING A CIRCULAR ECONOMY

South Korea is at the forefront of lithium-ion battery recycling and their government is keen to build on this, having recently announced a ‘four-year lithium-ion battery technology development project’. The project will see the government invest 40 trillion won (£25 billion) to ensure used batteries are either recycled or used in second-life applications, which should see an increase in infrastructure, equipment and the number of businesses able to extract the valuable assets from the waste material.

A LOOK TO THE FUTURE

A report by the International Energy Agency has found that there could be 230m electric vehicles worldwide by 2030, with the lithium-ion battery recycling market expected then to be worth $22.8 billion.

However, it is currently believed that only 5% of lithium-ion batteries are actually recycled, meaning there is an untapped source of much sought-after metals in Cobalt, Nickel, Manganese and Lithium, as well as other valuable elements.

With this in mind, it has never been more important to stay ahead of the curve and develop suitable recycling solutions to extract the value these batteries hold and support the global initiative to reduce carbon emissions.

LOOKING FOR SUPPORT WITH BLACK MASS?

If you want more information on the potential value of the metals in your black mass, click here to get in touch with a member of the AHK team.